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Find A Grave Reviews

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(based on 53 reviews)

Category: Genealogy Sites (AKA Family Tree Websites)
Website: http://www.findagrave.com

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Findagrave is needs to be reformed
18 July 2023
Reviewer: Mike from USA

22 of 41 people found this review helpful

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T's a great resource for discovering and cataloguing real, existing graves. But Findagrave has zero mechanisms for ensuring the accuracy of entered information. Any user can add memorials for anyone. You can add memorials for Goku, Luke Skywalker, and Harry Potter if you want. So people go on there and create error-riddled family trees, including many with entirely fictitious "ancestors" (like this one) that have zero burial information and no one can stop them.

Findagrave's chief vice is laziness--they don't want to bother with conflict mediation and have made the absurd assumption that genealogists are all reasonable and have valid reasons for believing what they believe. But in the last 20 years of doing this, I've found that many southern colonial genealogies found online are absurdly wrong, confusing multiple unrelated lines, badly supported (if at all) and that many genealogists are so lazy they'd rather copy and paste someone else's work than do even a modicum of fact checking. You can throw as much evidence as you want at many Findagrave members, but everyone is subject to cognitive biases--in genealogy I find anchoring bias and herd mentality to be extremely common. Even if you are nice and reasonable, the memorial manager has absolute control and often doesn't care what your evidence says.

I've complained over and over to Findagrave staff and no one does anything. The solution is pretty simple: if you're going to allow people to treat the site like a public family tree, you need the same conflict resolution mechanisms found on Wikitree or Familysearch. This means you need to allow joint editing rights for members on all memorials. This has been an effective means to control bad behavior on public trees. When people realize they don't know anything and haven't done the legwork, they tend to wander off. On Findagrave, however, they tend to scoff at you and ARE EVEN ALLOWED TO BLOCK ALL INCOMING MESSAGES. This is absolutely astonishing.

The website badly needs reform. BADLY. If you agree, please, please write in to Findagrave and pressure them to reform these awful practices. Alternately, maybe they only create open editing rights for pre-1800 memorials. OR maybe they only allow it if a mediation process has failed or all other options have been exhausted. But they need a process to stop these fools from putting fake memorials online, it is absolutely poisonous to genealogy.

In summary, I would not recommend Find A Grave to a friend.

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